How safe is Fulltime RVing? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 12-05-2009, 12:18 PM   #1
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How safe is Fulltime RVing?

This happened yesterday...

Nick Russell is a major contributor on the Escapees Forum. Nick is a popular and dynamic speaker, and has presented seminars at campgrounds, RV rallies and special events across the country. His programs are a blend of useful travel and RV information interspersed with humor that leaves the audience begging for more!

Among the venues where Nick has appeared are Life on Wheels, Escapees RV Club Spring and Fall Escapades, Escapees chapter rallies, FMCA rallies, Hensley Hitch Rally, Gypsy Journal rallies, Good Sam Club rallies, Encore RV Parks, for veterans groups, and more.

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Old 12-05-2009, 12:58 PM   #2
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Wowser, though things like this don't happen all that often to rv'ers. This is a great reminder that it can happen. Thankfully no one was hurt, and I so agree, if people need/want/are going to rip you off do they have to destroy in the meantime? My Dh has always said, Locks are for good people, cause if someone wants in they can get in without a key. Thanks Mike for posting a wakeup call/reminder that we need to be careful.

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Old 12-05-2009, 01:32 PM   #3
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Ugh. That's no fun.

But reading it in light of your question: "How safe is Fulltime RVing?" I would say "about the same as living at home."

My reasoning is that -- unless you live in a full-time guarded, fenced, locked up community -- it's nearly as easy (and sometimes just as easy) for your home to be broken into in the same way.

That's not to say either is "safe," but I've heard of things just like this happening to people in regular homes in "good" neighborhoods.

No fun though. Glad they came out of it safe, although I'm sure it must still be on their minds.

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Old 12-05-2009, 02:42 PM   #4
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First off, I don't see this as a full-time RVing problem... other than the amount of stuff that was in the rig. It was parked at an RV repair shop. Perhaps the same as any of us would do if we needed repairs. When I said... the amount of stuff... it's because most would clear out a rig (I would think... but maybe not) if taking to a shop for repairs. For instance, I certainly wouldn't leave weapons and expensive electronics in my trailer if I was taking it for repair.

Second, I worry more about my home and leaving it unoccupied when I'm gone and there certainly is more "stuff" here than I ever carry in my trailer. From my grandmother's sterling to family jewelry. And there's nothing, other than the large safe I have to protect some things while I'm gone, whether a day at work or overnight or weeks on end.

Violence and criminal activity are everywhere and most generally a crime of opportunity. Being smart, having good neighbors, etc. are helpful but no guarantee of protection or safety.

Glad no one was hurt though. Everything is repairable or replaceable except life.
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:41 PM   #5
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It wasn't just that they left stuff in the vehicle at the repair shop because they obviously were planning on staying in the vehicle, too.

This is one reason I have always wanted a trailer as compared to any other RV. I like the idea of having my little home parked somewhere, preferably a campground, while tug might be in the shop. Not very likely the trailer will need much more than tires at which time I'd be right there watching. Maybe an axle, then I'd remove anything I didn't want want to lose.
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and "Puff", too
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:32 PM   #6
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Trailer: Lance 1985~'Casita de Campo' ~23' 4"~Dinette Slide Previously: Scamp 16 ft Side Dinette, Front Bath
New Mexico
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We need to be reminded we live in a very scary world which can become violent quickly.

It does not matter if full timing or just traveling and camping or at home, we must be very Vigilant of our surroundings and Cautious. The description of the area, "parked in their small camping area. It's a pretty dark place, and ours was the only occupied RV there", spelt trouble, IMHO. Not a place to leave and come back to after dark.

Isolated in a large urban metropolitan area would not be an ideal place to "camp".

From cases I have read about or heard about, this was a very wise move: "My first thought was to shoot him as he fled, but I'm not going to kill anybody for a few material possessions, and the threat to us was over." Our courts seem to frown up shooting if life is not in danger.

The key, in my opinion, is to keep from becoming complacent and to remain cautious and very vigilant.

Like the man said, "The smart thing to do when we first spotted the broken window was to back off and call the police......" A hard thing to remember.

Wow! What a place we live in........the very best, but which can become the worse.

Post Script: We have had to stay at a Ford dealship waiting until for it to open on a Monday with a broken brake line on our motor home. But it was Clear Lake Iowa just off the interstate. To be sure, we were cautious at night even in the small town setting. The only scary happening was a tornado in the area and a very hairy thunder storm blowing by. Two nights and on Monday morning we were on our way again before too long.
DesertHawk- Las Cruces, NM USA
2015 Lance 1985 ~ Casita de Campo ~23' 4"
~Previously ~ 2005 16' Scamp
2009 White Ford F-150 Reg. Cab Longbed ARE Topper
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Old 12-05-2009, 11:57 PM   #7
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Maybe I can shed some light on the subject of leaving it at this kind of repair shop cause I think know where this took place so I have a little insight on how this rig type repair shop runs. I assume this took place at the Factory that made their rig. When going for repairs there you live in your rig as you would any other day, the factory works around it. ( have ton's of friends whom have went back to the factory as well) When the owner of one of these rigs goes back to the factory for repair, updating, remodeling etc the factory has a small campground on factory grounds with full hook ups so that the rv'er can be with the rig as much as they want. Most repair is done in buildings so on workdays someone comes to the rig, breaks camp and moves it to the building then before say 5pm or when the work is done the rig is brought back to the site and re-set for the customers evening and that is how it runs for the most part until the repairs are finished. The customer can stay with their rig all day if they want, but most go sight seeing etc. (beautiful Amish country there) anyway if a rig won't be livable for the repair stay the customer is put up in a near by hotel.

Some more light........................ Full timers don't usually have a place to clear out and store their expensive stuff (their fulltimer's and live in their rigs) , unless they can throw it all in the tow vehicle which then they would have to sit with their stuff until they could put it back into their rig. I supose I would at least take my jewelry, and guns but other than that I don't think I would pull it all out for the day. I know we all think in terms of dropping our little egg's off for a day of repair, but the factorys back there know that a majority of their clients are fulltimers so they set it up so that someone bringing in their rig for repair can live as they live everyday. Hope that helps, I know I didn't understand it either till a friend explained the whole process, guess that owning one of those big rigs takes more than a Jiffy Lube repair .

And some more light/insight........................ This area has been really hard hit from the economy for several years they have been experiencing a slow down in Rv production. I have been told that it has a very high unemployment rate due to several Rv factory's there going out of business and the ones still producing experiencing a slow market. Which in no way excuses theft, but may explain why the incident spilled over to the factory campground.
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:38 PM   #8
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A friend, Kirk, wrote... (fulltimer for over 15yrs.)

I remain convinced that the #1 thing that one can do for RV security is the choice of where you park the RV. Acknowledging that hind sight is always better than foresight, I am sure that Nick would agree with me that his location did contribute to that incident.

[b] Nick
It's a pretty dark place, and ours was the only occupied RV there.
Now I am not going to tell you that I would have done differently, but had the RV been in a well lighted, busy location this most likely would never have happened.

Avoiding that situation is the best security, if it can be done. I suspect that if we could talk with the perpetrator, he would agree that he never expected the owners to be staying in that RV and thus, likely to return to it. Most burglars want to avoid contact with their victims just as much as you want to avoid them. So the first line of defense is always your location.

As to security systems, police officers that I know agree that the most effective deterrent measure is one which will attract attention to the burglar's location. In a parking area, a common car alarm usually draws little notice because we hear them so often. It is more likely to draw notice when late at night with few people around, if there is someone to notice. I think that a better choice for RVs if you have power to make it operate is to use one of the alarm systems normally associated with a house. The reason is that the sound is not usually heard in a parking area and so would draw more notice.

The primary purpose of alarm systems should be to frighten the burglar away before he can complete his intentions because apprehension of him is usually not practical. Suppose you did have an alarm that calls you on your cell phone? Now what do you do? Do you call 911 to say your alarm went off and hope that there is an officer available to go and see if it is real or a false alarm? Do you hurry to the RV in order to confront the perpetrator and go in with guns blazing?

These are questions that each person must answer for themselves and there is no way for me to say what you should do. I can only tell you what I am doing, and review what I do with in mind to consider what I might want to change to improve my security.

What we do is to first try and avoid becoming a a target to the greatest extent possible. We have done exactly what Nick did and been lucky, but that really doesn't mean that it was a good idea. What Nick's experience says to me is that I should not become complacent from our good fortune and grasp that what happened to Nick could also happen to us. I am sure that there are very few among us who would not have done exactly as Nick did, but we also know that if his RV had been somewhere else, this would probably not have happened. Perhaps we should not stay in free accommodations at the RV shop, for security reasons?

Our next level of security is that we have a portable motion sensor with a very loud internal alarm which we leave turned on when leaving the RV. (We have at times been remiss in this but Nicks story has made us more consistent.) The device is one available in department stores and it does require 120V power but we rarely dry camp so it is seldom not operational. We also have a battery operated unit that sits just inside of our door when we do dry camp and are out of the RV. I don't remember where we got either of them as we have used them for years, but I do know that similar products are in stores today. The down side of them is that we can't use one if we leave Muffie in the RV. (We only made that mistake once!)

Our last line of defense is a good insurance policy that has an inventory of property attached. You need to make that inventory every year and to keep it where it can be recovered. Then make sure that your insurance is high enough to pay to replace any stolen items or to repair any damage. Antiques and valuables should be listed as individual items with specific coverage by item.

That is most of what we do for security. Location is our first line of defense. We don't go to extreme lengths to be ready for anything because to do this reliably most of us would need to live in constant fear of attack and we are not willing to do that. When we do will be the day that the bad guys have won.

For the event of a break-in while we are inside, about all that I know of which would work is to be armed. If I were armed it would be with a short barrel shotgun. As part of that I would not advertise the fact that I was armed and I would not tell anyone that I had it on board. We do have a dog who will awaken us when something unusual is happening and we never punish her for it, even if a false alarm. That would give the extra time to be armed when broken into, if we were to carry a weapon.

Should you choose the weapon route, make sure that you are proficient with it's use and that you would be willing to kill an intruder if that ever happens. A gun in the hands of a person not willing to shoot an intruder is much worse than to be unarmed.

Do we carry a gun with us when we travel? As I said, I would never tell anyone whether if we were armed.

This is basically our security plan and so far we have never had any problems. But we also realize that it can happen to anyone and no amount of security will ever be 100% effective. Life just has some degree of risk and we just try to control the degree as much as we can, to stay aware of the risks involved and to then go on with life and enjoy it the best way we know how.
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:28 PM   #9
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I have went back and read his update to all of this, it's interesting. Might want to check it out.
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:07 AM   #10
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I have went back and read his update to all of this, it's interesting. Might want to check it out.
You are correct. ...and yes I have kept up with it.
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Old 12-14-2009, 02:05 AM   #11
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PYRENEES large dog that is most often known to knock down and sit on bad guys and not eat them
[bad guys taste....well bad i guess]
they have a ferocious sound and weigh 80 140 lbs.
with little training they will accept a new friend when you are not there. [magic word to be used by repair men]
they have been bred for CENTURIES to love children and women and will prefer to sleep with their but blocking the outermost door

yes i know it is popular to have feefee weigh in at 3 lbs or less.
yes they shed.
yes they eat,poop,etc.
they also think you are god immortalised just for them.
my daughter used our first half breed pry golden lab as a walker
our first full pyr would not let me spank a son who had just learned a new word to call his mama until shewas taken outside

In some places if your gun is used to commit murder you are an accessory.
If you have a 2 doller lock on the door and somebody breaks through and gets the business end of a pyr
you are legally viewed to have left your property in a safe situation and are not at fault.

lets face it sometimes the old ways are the best.

oh yea my personal favorite they are LAZY not hiper and do not need 40 acres and love to travel
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:02 PM   #12
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I agree it's not necessarily an increased risk associated with fulltiming or even camping in an RV. It seems the economic depression/recession has increased the number of thefts and violent crimes. Everyone has to make their own decisions regarding protecting their property and person. It's a cruel and violent world out there. The idea that we live in a civilized society is a popular fiction that lets us feel safe. Locks, security alarms, surveillance equipment, or guards only deter some of the criminals. There is always someone out there that is desperate enough to challenge any lock or security system. Think about it. We have people robbing banks that have armed security and video surveillance. There is an old expression that contains a bit of truth. Locks only keep honest people honest.

In my opinion not securing weapons is negligent and even criminal in some locations. If weapons are not in your possession, they need to be locked in a secure storage container.

After sixty years and a couple real scares, I now carry a PDA (Personal Defense Assistant) everywhere it is legal, and few places it might not be legal. I'm now too old and decrepit to physically fight or run.

All anyone can do is lock and secure their property when they leave it with the hope and expectation that it will be there when they return. I've been a victim of theft before and still have considerable anger about it. Fortunately, it was only property that was taken. Property can be replaced with some inconvenience. I am in favor of the "stand your ground" laws that do not require the victim to retreat. Retreating gives the criminal the opportunity to harm your person and eliminate the witness.

It does not matter how you come into contact with the criminal. That confrontation with a criminal can be dangerous to your health and life. The criminal is immediately desperate to preserve their freedom and life. They typically will take your life or health to extend their freedom.

We can't carry a cop around with us. There are numerous examples on youtube illustrating that asking the criminal to wait while you call 911 is useless. More and more people are deciding to take responsibility for their own personal protection. I acknowledge that it's not for everyone, and that's ok.

I hope that no one is victimized by a criminal. I hope that no one is physically harmed by a criminal. I hope that anyone physically confronted or attacked by a criminal can defend themselves and bring the criminal to justice. Legal justice or natural justice. For me, my PDA has already discouraged a few individuals from continuing to approach me with questionable intentions. Fortunately for me, just putting my hand on the PDA changed their mind. Telling them "no" or "go away" had not changed their behavior.

I wish the best to all and hope you are never confronted or victimized.
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Old 12-17-2009, 05:28 AM   #13
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A note on the door, "Insured by Smith and Wesson," and mean it. To not have a weapon in this day and age is simply irresponsible. Statistics how that in every case, states with carry laws have reduced crime.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:10 AM   #14
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There are people who are able to use weapons responsibly, and those who can not and should not. A large trained dog is a good option, as Jim pointed out. Not isolating yourself and or your camper is also good advice.

Always consider your personal safety wherever you are.

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